Ferrari have identified where they will use their development tokens in the quest to put this season’s poor campaign behind them.
The Scuderia have plummeted to sixth of 10 in the constructors’ World Championship standings, with their SF1000 suffering from too much drag as well as a drop in performance from the engine.
Work has already begun at Maranello to develop a new power unit, while Ferrari’s head of chassis engineering Simone Resta has revealed the Italian giants’ focus on improving the car for next season will centre upon one particular area.
“We will re-do the rear of the car,” said Resta in an interview with Italian publication Autosprint and reported by Motorsport.com.
“We think this is the area that will allow more room for development between chassis and aerodynamics for 2021.
“Furthermore, the rear of the car will be affected by regulatory changes the FIA are introducing to reduce the aerodynamic load in order to limit the stress on the tyres.
“As a result of these [floor] changes, all teams will lose a number of points of downforce and it will be essential to work to recover as much as possible. All of this makes us believe the most important area in which to spend development tokens is the rear.”
As part of cost-cutting measures introduced in the wake of the global health pandemic, Formula 1 teams are strictly limited in terms of how much they can change their chassis for 2021.
A token system has been introduced where teams effectively have to pick whether to upgrade one major area or choose two smaller elements.
But despite the progress of the engine and the chance to revamp the rear of the car, Resta is still cautious about the prospects of Ferrari making a big leap forward in 2021.
“Freedom is not as total as it appears,” he added. “You can develop [the engine] freely [over the winter] but it will be frozen from the first 2021 race onwards. Then you cannot touch it any more.
“The aerodynamics, even if free, are still limited in form by what [structure] is underneath. You have to consider aerodynamics like a dress – it must be worn over a body, so in a certain sense the dimensions of the body affect the final shape.
“So if the [F1] nose structure remains the same, I may be able to design a new front wing but my creative autonomy will still be limited. All these freezes and limitations lead us to think we will find it difficult to reasonably recover in a single season the gap we have now to the leaders.”